DOD Mismanages Its Force Reduction Program

The U.S. Air Force decided to initiate its initial phase of force reduction -- more than four hundred captains and majors will be "pink-slipped."  Economically, this makes absolutely no sense, especially during the troubling economic hardships faced within the nation.  At any rate, a force reduction could indicate that the Air Force, like most branches of the armed forces, is cutting the wrong personnel.

The average monthly salary of a military captain or major equates to approximately $5,500 base pay.  Now, look at the average monthly salary of those officers who have already reached twenty years' service -- the minimum time authorized to retire from the armed forces.  A "full bird colonel" with twenty years' service averages $9,000 a month in basic pay.

Remember, after colonels, four additional military ranks known as "flag officers" exist, and these generals average an additional $2,000 more per month in basic pay than colonels -- all have already reached retirement years in service.  The higher the rank, the more cost-of-living allowance is paid as well.  This comes in two forms known as basic allowance for housing (BAH) and basic allowance for subsistence (BAS).

Today, there are approximately 919 flag officers working inside the Department of Defense.  That equates to one flag officer to approximately 1,500 service members.  During World War II, the United States armed forces comprised approximately 16 million service members.

When comparing and contrasting the numbers between yesterday and today, you will find that the United States has approximately the same amount of flag officers overseeing the entire force today as it did in World War II.  The alarming issue behind all this is the fact that there were approximately 14 million more serving in our Armed Forces during the Second World War as there are serving in today's military.

Arguably, there are political elitists simply taking care of the military's elite, as seen through numerous GAO reports justifying such "needs" for high-ranking officers who have already reached retirement years of service.  Those same decision-makers are promoting high-ranking billets while killing the real workforce within -- such as the captains and majors soon to be unemployed.

Make no mistake; this is not just an officer versus enlisted crisis.  Soon, as always, when force reductions occur, the enlisted too will be swiftly cut.  The bulk will include the junior enlisted unemployed -- leaving many senior enlisted, who also have reached retirement years in service (similarly to those flag officers), unharmed by such cuts.

For those who believe that class warfare exists only within the civilian sector, think again.  What is taking place in DOD force reduction initiatives could easily be considered military class warfare.

Kerry Patton is a Senior Analyst for WIKISTRAT.  He has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, focusing on intelligence and security and interviewing current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban.  He is the author of Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies and the children's book American Patriotism.  You can follow him on Facebook.